A $4 million gift to the Canadian Museum of Nature will fund a national cryogenic storage facility for genetic material.
In addition, the fund will support biodiversity research and the discovery of new species.
Given by the Ross Beaty family in Vancouver, this marks the museum’s largest ever philanthropic donation.
Meg Beckel, the museum’s President and CEO, described the gift as one of ‘extraordinary generosity’:
“We hope this transformational gift will inspire others to support the work of the museum, as we expand the museum’s ability to share its knowledge worldwide, to mentor future scientists and to inspire understanding, respect and appreciation of the natural world for a better natural future.”
According to the museum, the Beaty’s donation will support three key initiatives. These will be collectively entitled the Beaty Centre for Species Discovery.
Half of the fund has been earmarked for the creation of a national cryogenic facility. This will include an examination room as well as large, super-cooled vats filled with liquid nitrogen to house tissue samples and genetic material.
A further $1 million will enable the digitisation and high-resolution imaging of the museum’s collections. These amount to around 350,000 world-class Arctic specimens, including plants, animals, fossils and minerals.
Finally, $1 million will create the Beaty Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Species Discovery. The fellowship will fund a post-doctoral scientist every two years to investigate species at risk. The fellowship is scheduled to begin in spring 2018.
“I’m always reminded that less than one percent of human philanthropy goes to nature and the environment. Yet our one species is having such a heavy footprint on the other millions of species that don’t have voices,” commented Ross Beaty.
“My hope is that this investment will help promote the Canadian Museum of Nature as a great Canadian biodiversity research institution and enhance its reputation as a great national natural history museum.”
Image courtesy Canadian Museum of Nature